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Author Topic: Audio for video  (Read 4115 times)

Chris Sanderson

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Audio for video
« on: August 03, 2016, 03:19:52 PM »

As suggested by Fred Jeang on another thread, I agree that a thread dedicated to Audio for Video is a great idea.

Before commenting on equipment, I think it important to understand a few things about audio and the way it works. Most of what I write below is adapted from the excellent book Producing Great Sound for Film & Video by Jay Rose, a truly excellent book on sound recording.

A couple of important facts:

- as a sound disperses outward from its source, it grows a lot weaker since it effectively travels outward in a circle like ripples from a stone dropped in water
- sound waves will turn corners and bounce off things and thus its pattern and character can change radically when reflective surfaces interfere
- sound is present almost everywhere in greater or smaller quantity. So If you want to record something specific, eliminate unwanted sound as much as is possible. Adding background sound or echo after the fact is relatively easy; getting rid of unwanted sound in a recording can be extremely difficult.

Rule #1 If you are looking for good sounding dialogue, it is critical to get the microphone(s) as close to your subject(s) as possible before the sound becomes weaker, before the voice picks up echo reflected off hard objects and where background noise is far lower to the mic than the voice. Simply put, this means that almost any camera mounted microphone is going to be too far away from the subject for good sound recording. Try and get a shotgun or lavalier mic within a foot of the subject.

Chris S



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Christopher Sanderson
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 04:08:09 PM »

I get along pretty well with just a shotgun mic.

I have it on my camera and easy to remove, add a long lead, and pass off to someone to hold near the subject.

I think it is worth considering 'audio strategy' and its relationship with the pictures you shoot.

Often a director may want a 'oner' with the subject walking or suchlike.. this is a recipe for fails.

I keep it simple - single talking heads.. or hire a sound guy!

Also one needs to learn..
wildtrack - recording background audio bed
recording sounds.. saws hammers guns birds.. whatever.. often on camera mic will do nice
taking 'non synch' pictures.. images that need no sound or cut across other sound.. like the super wide interview shot with the plant pot in focus
also recording noise.. maybe footsteps by that can be cut into a wide shot of someone walking
sound headers and footers.. roll your shots longer so they have audio handles.

but I do all of this with a single mic on a long lead into my camera.

A couple of projects..
National forest.. mainly interview.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PE5xhIanang
Interview and machines (some hard cuts make for audio pops that I could now cure in edit)
Army.. comms, birds, interview gunshots.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vic7w4OUlRI&index=1&list=UU2Aotf1m3_EAR3879H0PEqA

Typically when I edit all the audio is laid down first.










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Peter McLennan

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 09:46:33 PM »

Chris speaks the truth. For voice, the closer the better.  Think of all the singers you've seen onscreen.  Where's the mic?  Inches from their mouths.

A wireless lavaliere is pretty well the optimal solution for voice pickup.  Look closely at any situation where voice is paramount - for example, the late night variety shows.  The host and guests are always wired.  Unless it's studio-quality quiet, if you have to mic talent from off camera, you need a boom man. Simple as that.

Unless the camera is very close to the talent and if you have multiple on-camera talent, again you need a boom man. Or multiple channels of wireless.  And a mixer.  And someone to operate it.

If it's relatively quiet and the talent's not moving, you can get away with a mounted overhead shotgun or a planted (in shot, but hidden) microphone. But if they move much, or it's noisy or echo-prone, you're toast.

As Morgan says, for non sync effects, there are many solutions other than wireless.  The trick is knowing what effects to record. That stuff you learn in the edit bay.
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 04:50:35 AM »

That stuff you learn in the edit bay.

That is the real thing - editing and that leads you to develop 'audio strategy' on set.

Im not a fan of lavs though.. too long to rig up and too sketchy for clothes rustle/bad RF link.

But then my 'audio strategy' revolves around tight talking heads boomed.





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fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 07:32:05 AM »

Nice this thread is now created as it could become
The place in wich users would find datas on audio.
It would be great if it becomes a bit like
"Put your profesional works here", as audio for video
Is so important.

I have a request for the site: in the case this thread becomes
Successful, wich I hope, would it be possible to pin it at the top
Of the entries so it is always easily accessible.
Otherwise it will slowly disappear from the latest entries
And sure many users will need to explore it all the time.

Cheers.

fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2016, 07:49:26 AM »

I have a friend in Madrid who has a studio recording house (for music)
And is a freak of expensive vintage microphones.
You know, one of those old school dudes, perfectionists and obessives.(a bit like Cooter  ;D)

Well, the other day I was driving next his place and stopped to say hello.
I found the guy completly in extasy with a 10 bucks lavalier mounted on his
Cell phone (with a sound software).
The phone fits in the jacket pocket, and when I arrived at his studio he was
Actually doing some testings, comparing the results with billionaire
Equipment and it was quite amazing what could be acheived.
Of course, there is a difference, but then in post, as the dude knows
What he is doing, he could get very very close. (Using Reaper)
The sotware for the phone is called "easy voice recorder" the payed version,
But there are gazillion.

So, cell phone in the jacket pocket with ebayed lavalier mic
And a dedicated sound software for the phone works
Surprizingly well! As long as you are a bit knowledgeable in
What to do in post.
Of course, no need to say that you have to sync. Just clap your hands.
In a way, it is a wireless setup because the cellphone is your amp.
As long as tou can hide it it works very very well.

Ps: the use of a clapperboard or simply clapping hands is not outdated
In the sense that it brings a lot of infos usefull in post in order to remove
The mess. Because you can speach (or write in the case of the clapperboard)
The scene, the take, the date and so-on.
And beleive me, you will be thankfull later on in post.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 08:08:41 AM by fredjeang2 »
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Chris Sanderson

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2016, 09:33:54 AM »

[Yeah Fred, if this gets some real traction, I will pin it.]

As part of my highly portable sound gear, I always travel with two Rode Smart Lavs which I connect to old iPhones in the subject's pockets. I use them in situations where wireless lavs are impossible (like trade shows) and where the lack of ability to monitor effectively is overweighed by the necessity to get close to the subject in noisy environments. The sound quality is good and the Rode recording app for iPhone is well thought out. The files get automatically uploaded to my DropBox account or they can be transferred via iTunes (yuck) or GoodReader to my mac. This is not an ideal solution but when you are backed into a corner, they can work very well.
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Christopher Sanderson
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Chris Sanderson

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2016, 11:05:04 AM »

And because I just did a flatlay for an online gee-up, here is some of the portable kit
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 11:09:32 AM by Chris Sanderson »
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Christopher Sanderson
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2016, 12:15:36 PM »

I still dont really see the need for kit :)

One shotgun on a long lead and Im good. Obviously as you add more characters and allow more mobility one needs more kit.

My basic concept is that one can only listen to one sound at once.. so when shooting if you know what that sound is it is usually easy to record.

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Chris Sanderson

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2016, 12:44:19 PM »

I still dont really see the need for kit :)
I get it - but you do need an extra pair of hands to boom a cabled mic into the subject and/or you need to carry a boom & gripstand.

My 'kit' is predicated on 3 choices for multi-situational setups as a one-man-band, one-man-porter, with no helpers.  ::)
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Christopher Sanderson
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fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2016, 01:02:26 PM »

And because I just did a flatlay for an online gee-up, here is some of the portable kit

Thanks. It reasonably fits in a bag.
The audio on the LuLa videos is very good. Something I noticed for quite some time.
So this is an example to follow.

Morgan_Moore

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2016, 01:03:20 PM »

CS but you do need an extra pair of hands to boom a cabled mic

Yep usually I have another body to help.. even if it is a PR person.. or sometimes I get people to hold their own mic.

For an interview setup Id use a boom light-stand.

When I go minimum focus with a 28 (FF equiv) I find the shotgun on the camera is close enough.

Overall I think that the point Im poorly trying to make is that the first lesson in sound is to 'visualise' what your final product will sound like.. once you know what you are trying to achieve it becomes fairly straightforward.

The kit is secondary.

On kit yes I actually have quite a lot of kit.. 3 XLR happy cameras (GH4, FS7 EX1) a sound Devices 702 recorder (awesome) My sanken shotgun and two 'sony' shotguns, a rode video mic and a Sony Radio mic setup.

The real value of radio mics is IMO getting 'off axis audio'

For example one might be filming a chef teaching cooking (and giving a commentary).. one will want a solid take of his audio but the camera needs to rove between him, his hands and maybe his students.

Audio.. Chef.. "put in a little olive oil in the pan"
Picture "CU of pan"

Of course the next level would be to add in 'glug glug' as the oil hits exits the bottle' this could be intercut between dialogue or quiet in the background (or both)

My BBC chummo taught me 'a picture without sound is a dead picture'.. so I will always have a mix of ambience and dialogue.

My FS7 does not do sound in slo-mo which is a shame because I often have to record a sound take or be considering the audio I will use over my 'dead' slomo shots.

S





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fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2016, 01:16:07 PM »

On what post is concerned,
If you frequented any music recording studio, you'd notice that
They all have a pair (or more) of crappy monitors.
This is to emulate average customer's audio, wich is the
Target so they get an idea of what people will hear.
And sound has to be good in both monitors (the crappy onces and
The pro onces).
You can check and verify this by playing a top produced music
On any medium and it should sounds well.
Same with color artists. They always display in both monitors
Because they have to see what you will see, unless they grade for theaters.
So keep your crappy equipment.

Chris Sanderson

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2016, 02:12:19 PM »

They all have a pair (or more) of crappy monitors.
This is to emulate average customer's audio, wich is the
Target so they get an idea of what people will hear. ...

aka s**t-boxes or more politely as grot-boxes
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Christopher Sanderson
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bcooter

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2016, 05:00:06 PM »

Working as a one man band is difficult and takes a lot of skill, as Morgan expertly shows.

Still itís hard to keep up with everything, not just the tech of proper sound and lighting, but holding continuity and catching all the details.

We use Seinhauser radio lavs when we can and have straps, pads that cut down on mistakes like wardrobe rubbing against the mic.

We have these tacky foot pads that go on hard shoes when people walk down hard floors which sometimes helps, sometimes not.

We also have two Audio-Technica dual wireless systems, but we rarely use them.  Theyíre more difficult to set up and the receivers are huge, especially if you have two.

Hanging them off a camera is a challenge.  Iíd much rather hang 4 small Seinhauser's on a mount that even one of the Audio techniques duals.

If we donít have a sound tech, we still review the footage including the sound.   Recording a walk and talk especially in a busy area is tough, in cities like Bangkok can almost be impossible.

If we miss it or canít get it we run the footage and have the subject loop the sound to a separate recorder, with headphones on.  Itís not exact but is usually close even for people not trained as actors.

We slate everything we can, though with untrained talent I will run long takes as stopping, slating, saying rolling, speed action all the time tends to tense the subject up.

To keep running makes for extra footage, but comes across more natural if the talent doesnít get tense in the ďstart of the raceĒ mindset.

I also donít mind if people talk over each other, if it comes across natural.   It makes it hard for the post sound tech, but is a nice style and can seem real and non scripted.

What a lot of people miss is foley sound which is not as drastic as it use to be.  If itís a busy area, we alway record background noise, sometimes itís useful sometimes not.

Some things are just almost impossible to get real time.   Helicopters are tough, gunfire also.  Gunfire sounds like clack clack rather than menacing.  Same with subtle sounds like walking through tall grass.

Fortunately almost every foley sound is available online, for very low prices, though we try to cover it on set/location.

This quick video/still compilation has bought foley sound and it works.  (No reason to watch it all, but the first few seconds shows web bought foley sound of the helicopter.

http://russellrutherford.com/multi_media_edit_rrg_cbp.mp4

When we have our sound tech, I make sure all sound radios to the cameras from his station.  They hate it and also record it separately, but the RED 1ís have great sound recording and I canít tell the difference from the sound techs file and the in camera sound.

One trick I use to do, not as much anymore is to mount an old canon xl1 on some sticks and get it as close to the subject as possible with tight framing.  The xl1 had great sound recording with a lot of easy controls and input options.  I stopped it because collecting tape is just another step in the workflow.

I know one foley sound dept. in Hollywood that still uses an xl1 for some of their foley sound, though Hollywood never throws anything that works away.

I have a lot of expensive headphones and hate them all.   Theyíre just too good and suppress too many glitches.  Personally I use a set of white panasonic cheapo headsets because they hear everything.

A year ago on a location I could hear a hum, through my bargain headsets.   I kept telling the sound tech I hear it, he was positive it wasnít there.  Half way into the day, he caught it.  Since we were running on mains either an hmi ballast was packing up, or just some type of resistance.  To keep continuity we ran the hmis even when we werenít using them.  Very lucky the hum was above the dialog so it was an easy fix.  (whew).

One last thing that doesnít pertain exactly to sound is I have tried to stop hand/shoulder mounting all the time and use supports.  Run and gun makes this hard, but unless slight movement is a style I just find I frame better with supports and allows the sound guys more continuity.  Obviously trailing behind/in front of someone in locked step has to have movement, but I think Iíve seen way too many mobile phone videos where everything is shaking and moving.   

I'm not suggesting my process is correct, It just works for me (usually).

IMO

BC



vulture

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2016, 03:22:37 AM »

In my case - wildlife - I found audio is almost exclusively possible with a gun mike mounted on camera or operated by a helping hand out of another car window. There are very rare cases where I can place a mike close to the expected/anticipated source in advance & away from the car/hide.
Anybody else's suggestions appreciated !
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Morgan_Moore

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2016, 04:31:21 AM »

Some notes and thoughts.. all random.

Did a pop gig last week, FS7, EX1 at the back and Fs5. The EX1 was taking a 'feed from the desk'

I had a flashgun with a red filter and a pocket wizard mounted on the stage.. popping this off between tracks gave me some solid visual synch points to bring all three cameras together. The flash was bright enough to be seen by the EX1 even though it was at the back of the hall.

---

When I operated on 'Secrets of the Brain' (2XFS7 with rear box) we had jam synch boxes, a soundie and a digi slate.. this is the proper way to do it but only works with cameras that timecode in and a bunch of expensive kit and a body to run into shot.

---

Video cameras (non dslr) can be cool, 'pre roll' can help with sound and of course XLRs and the ability to span/swap cards while rolling.

--








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fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2016, 07:46:10 AM »

On helicopters sound, I find the old Aerospaciale the sexiest,
Suitable for most helicopter models.
Those were the ones with the Turbomeca turbines (Alouette 2, 3 etc...).
If you can find samples of those, go for it.
You'll see what I mean.

(They have this characteristic high-frequency turbine engine sound in the background).

Morgan, firing a flash on stage is not a bad idea at all for sync.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2016, 06:22:50 AM by fredjeang2 »
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Chris Sanderson

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2016, 08:24:30 PM »

In my case - wildlife - I found audio is almost exclusively possible with a gun mike mounted on camera or operated by a helping hand out of another car window. There are very rare cases where I can place a mike close to the expected/anticipated source in advance & away from the car/hide.
Anybody else's suggestions appreciated !
Yes, I would suppose a lav on a baboon would be a tad impractical. The narrowest of shotguns and an 'atmosphere' cardioid would be my choices. In my experience, a sound recording session very early in the morning when the rest of the world is still quiet may tend to yield the best 'wild' sound. Then again, many wildlife sounds are available in sound effect libraries.
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Christopher Sanderson
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fredjeang2

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Re: Audio for video
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2016, 06:19:43 AM »

Recommendations for good sound librairies?
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